What you have to get used to in the UK is that there is a great disparity between the climbing genres. There are the hard core traditional climbers, there are the ice climbers, the mountaineers, the slate climbers, the grit climbers, the boulders and of course the sports climbers, the latter being a relatively new genus here. There are also sub cultures within these groups who only eat at certain cafes and climb when it is ridiculously cold and windy. Apparently thats what “Grit climbers” do.
Today at Masson Lees on the Monday of the 2016 Bank Holiday, Dave and I met up with our friends Michael,Thu and Elodie again. We were also looking forward to seeing Alexis and Laura. Karine and I meet these two lovely people from Spain in Thailand earlier this year and they were now living near Birmingham….God its all very complex at times.
Anyway, we were all there to climb together and very enthusiastic about each of our goals for the day. Dave wanted tick a long outstanding project called “Hilti Sound system” 7a (23). He hasn’t been on 1 for ages and only tried it once. I wanted to tick “Exo6” 7a (23). These were our goal’s today from a climbing perspective. Mostly it was about hanging out with a great crew and seeing us all do our best and have a truckload of fun.
Once we all at the crag and had done our introductions and caught up it was all hands on the ropes and time to climb. Dave and I did a few quick warm ups and and then headed over to the Overhanging Wall. We agreed that I should put the draws on “Exo6” and then rest and go for the red point send. dave wanted to do “Eye Eye” 6b+ for a little more warmth and then have a shot at on sighting the unknown 6c+ to the left of it.
As we worked through our plan Thu, Elodie and Michael wandered over to the wall and began their work on “Eye Eye” and the 6c a little further across. we talked Elodie into working “Eye Eye” and then try to red point it as her first 6b+. She was convinced and her goal for the day was sorted. Michael and Thu hopped on their choice of pain and off they went.
I had rested for about thirty minutes when Dave had finished his route and eaten a little. I tied in and started to prepare for my ascent. I had tried this route a few times and stuffed up one move regularly. Not happy, but that’s climbing right?! Dave was ready to catch me and I was feeling ready to get this thing done. I set off through the first four moves and clipped the first two bolts feeling for solid and focused. As I push through the transition to setup of the rest of the route I noticed that it was easier than it had been before.
Four weeks of training has made difference and I had noticed it. Resting at the central point of the route I felt pretty fresh and rested for about two minutes. I then headed in tot he crux pulling through and perfectly executing the one move that had thwarted me on four previous attempts. I clipped the anchors and it was done. Four and a half minutes of well executed, flowing movement. I was so pleased to have been able to experience that in such a wonderful way. It really satisfying to be able to express your current emotional status through simple movement.
Dave and I wandered over to his route and set up shop. I rested for about thirty minutes and then set off to put the draws on “Hilti Sound System”. Dave wanted to do the route and I just wanted to work the moves and see how I felt. With the draws in place, Dave tied in and set about his task with a diligence and focus that is to be admired and appreciated.
Making moves up a vertical face and being so relaxed is a goal that I have, but Dave’s 35 years of climbing experience and his steely approach is incredible. He walked up the route with an ease that made all of us cheer as he reached the anchors. It was his poise and control that made the execution truly beautiful. It was an exceptional dance indeed. There is nothing more that I can say about it.
Elodie sent her route, Thu and Michael sent their routes and Alexis and Laura truly enjoyed their time at the special little crag known as Masson Lees. The Peak District has many incredible little offerings but as a repurposed quarry, this one is truly wonderful.